A PATIENT at a Blackburn psychiatric hospital launched a vicious assault on a member of staff after he was told he couldn’t be released from the facility due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis Holden's rampage, which saw him throw a porcelain plant pot at care worker Catherine Dewhurst, has landed him in jail for 22 months.

Preston Crown Court heard how the 21-year-old had been sent to the Fountains psychiatric unit on Pleasington Close, Blackburn, after appearing in front of a judge for an incident where he tried to stab a police officer in 2018.

Holden was due to be released from the unit in March, but with nowhere to go and few other options, it was decided he would have to stay within the facility for a further six weeks.

Enraged by the decision, Holden launched a ferocious attack on Ms Dewhurst.

Prosecuting the case, Peter Barr said: "Once it had been communicated to him that he could not be released, he became wound-up and agitated.

"On the day in question he had began to challenge staff about the fact he hadn't been released while in the cafeteria at around lunch time.

"It was then Miss Dewhurst told him to sit down and be quiet. His reply was 'what has to got to do with you?'

"He then picked up a plate and threw it at her in a Frisbee style. Next, he picked-up a jug of juice, aiming that towards her and then a wooden chair."

The pair were soon separated and taken to separate sections of the unit before Holden once again went looking for the care worker, kicking his way through an air-lock door and launching a plant pot towards her.

Due to the protective system of the doors, which will only allow one to open if the other was closed, Ms Dewhurst and a colleague were effectively locked in the room with Holden as he kicked and shoved them to the ground.

Defending Holden, Russell Davies conceaded that his client had been deemed mentally and physically capable at the time of the attack.

He added: "He has shown remorse. his best defence is his early guilty plea, which he entered at the first opportunity."

Sentencing Holden, Judge Simon Newell said it was lucky Ms Dewhurt's injuries weren't more serious.

He said: "You are a large and powerfully built young man. You picked up a plant pot and hurled it at her with considerable force. It appears to have narrowly missed her.

"The consequence of this will stay with her for some time.

"While the injuries were relatively minor, that will be no consolation to your victim - there was real potential for serious injury.

“It would appear that you had full capacity at the time these offences took place - that is worrying for the public."